Country Music’s Greatest Year: The Way It Was In ’75
1975 was one of the greatest and most interesting years in country music history.
Greatest because that year is filled with music that still lives and breathes today, songs that have that certain quality that stays with you, well, forever.
And interesting because there wasn't really anyone song that dominated the country music chart. In the previous years, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, a song may stay atop the national chart not just for weeks, but for months. Webb Pierce might well have a hit that would be Number One for 16 or 17 weeks. Buck Owens would release a new song and it would zoom to the top, and there it would stay for 12 weeks.
That was not the way it was in '75.
In fact, in that 52 week period, there were a total of 43 Number One hits! 43 in just one year. And it wasn't because the songs were weak. On the contrary, it was because they were so strong!
The year started out with the legendary George Jones at #1 with his all-time classic 'The Door'. But it only stayed there one week, being pushed aside by Billy 'Crash' Craddock with 'Ruby Baby'. Which, in turn, only lasted there a week, as Merle Haggard then took the top spot with 'Kentucky Gambler'.
And so the pattern for 1975 was set.
Country music artists that are now legends, artists like Milsap, Pride, Twitty, Parton, Waylon, Willie...they all topped the chart, but only for one week, consistently knocking each other off the perch.
Oh, there were a few exceptions. Freddy Fender stayed on top 2 weeks, first in March with 'Before The Next Teardrop Falls', then again in August with 'Wasted Days And Wasted Nights'. We got our first hint of what would be called the 'Outlaw Movement' when Willie brought 'Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain' to the top for 2 weeks in October. And there were a few others.
But generally, it was a carousel of #1's...until the week of December 20.
I guess you could say the CB Craze officially hit the nation. C.W. McCall began a 5-week stay...yes, a 5-week stay...at the top of the chart that lasted well into 1976.
But 1975 might well be called the strongest year in country music with 43 different #1 hits.